GENERAL RULES (GR) RULE 25. PRACTICE OF LAW BOARD (a) – (b) [Unchanged.]
(c) Powers of the Practice of Law Board. (1) Advisory Opinions. On request of any person, or in connection with the consideration of any complaint or any investigation made on its own initiative, the Board may render advisory opinions relating to the authority of non-lawyers to perform legal and law-related services and arrange for their publication. No opinion shall be rendered if, to the Board’s knowledge, the subject matter either involves or might affect a case or controversy pending in any court. An advisory opinion shall be issued by the Board in writing and shall be transmitted to the person making the inquiry. At the direction of the Board, an opinion may be published in the Washington State Bar News. Published opinions shall not, insofar as practicable, identify the party or parties making an inquiry, or the complainant or respondent.
(2) Complaints. The Board shall have jurisdiction over and shall inquire into and consider complaints alleging the unauthorized practice of law by any person or entity in accordance with the procedures outlined in this rule.
(3) Investigation. The Board may, on its own initiative, and without any complaint being made to it, investigate any condition or situation of which it becomes aware that may involve the unauthorized practice of law.
(4) Recommendations to the Supreme Court Regarding the Provision of Legal and Law-Related Services by Non-Lawyers. On request of the Supreme Court or any person or organization, or on its own initiative, the Board may recommend that non-lawyers be authorized to engage in certain defined activities that otherwise constitute the practice of law as defined in GR 24. In forwarding a recommendation that non-lawyers be authorized to engage in certain legal or law-related activities that constitute the practice of law as defined in GR 24, the Board shall determine whether regulation under authority of the Supreme Court (including the establishment of minimum and uniform standards of competency, conduct, and continuing education) is necessary to protect the public interest. Any recommendation that non-lawyers be authorized to engage in the limited provision of legal or law-related services shall be accompanied by a determination:
(A) that access to affordable and reliable legal and law-related services consistent with protection of the public will be enhanced by permitting non-lawyers to engage in the defined activities set forth in the recommendation;
(B) that the defined activities outlined in the recommendation can be reasonably and competently provided by skilled and trained non-lawyers;
(C) if the public interest requires regulation under authority of the Supreme Court, such regulation is tailored to promote access to affordable legal and law-related services while ensuring that those whose important rights are at stake can reasonably rely on the quality, skill and ability of those non-lawyers who will provide such services;
(D) that, to the extent that the activities authorized will involve the handling of client trust funds, provision has been made to ensure that such funds are handled in a manner consistent with RPC 1.141.15A and APR 12.1, including the requirement that such funds be placed in interest bearing accounts, with interest paid to the Legal Foundation of Washington; and (E) that the costs of regulation, if any, can be effectively underwritten within the context of the proposed regulatory regime.
Recommendations to authorize non-lawyers to engage in the limited practice of law pursuant to this section shall be forwarded to the Washington State Board of Governors for consideration and comment before transmission to the Supreme Court. Upon approval of such recommendations by the Supreme Court pursuant to the procedures set out in GR 9, those who meet the requirements and comply with applicable regulatory and licensing provisions shall be deemed to be engaged in the authorized practice of law.
(d) – (j) [Unchanged.]